Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Scots: Glesca
Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu

Glasgow is the largest city and located in the west-central part of Scotland, on the River Clyde. It is situated within the historic county of Lanarkshire.

The city was said to be a haunt of the mad prophet Lailoken (identified with Merlin). It makes marginal appearances in several Arthurian romances.

Glasgow | 0 to the 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th centuries
In the first century AD, the area around modern-day Glasgow was part of the territory of the Celtic tribe known as Dumnonii.

The Roman presence in what is now Scotland had an impact on the region, but Glasgow itself does not have a direct connection to significant Roman settlements or infrastructure. The Romans built the Antonine Wall, which ran near present-day Glasgow during the second century, as a northern frontier defense. The wall was a short-lived successor to Hadrian’s Wall.

Post-Roman Period and Early Medieval Period | 5th – 9th centuries
After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the region entered a period of transition and upheaval. The historical records for this period is sparse, and much of Scotland, including the area around Glasgow, was inhabited by Celtic-speaking peoples. These early medieval tribes included the Britons, a Celtic-speaking people related to the Welsh, and the Picts.

During this time, Glasgow would have been part of the wider landscape of early medieval Celtic kingdoms. The Kingdom of Strathclyde, which included parts of present-day Glasgow, was one such kingdom. The Kingdom of Strathclyde was influenced by both Celtic and British (Welsh) cultures and played a role in the complex political dynamics of the region. The capital then was Dumbarton, situated 24 km downstream.

The early medieval period was marked by interactions with various groups, including the Picts to the north and the Angles from the east. The area was occasionally subject to invasions and conflicts.

The spread of Christianity throughout Scotland was a significant development during the early medieval period. Missionaries from Ireland and the Christianized Britons played a role in converting the local population. Glasgow’s association with Saint Kentigern, also known as Saint Mungo, a missionary and patron saint of the city, is said to have originated during this early medieval period.

Legend has it that Mungo established a church by the Molendinar Burn, which later became Glasgow Cathedral. By the sixth century, a settlement had begun to develop around the area where Glasgow Cathedral stands today, and it contributed to the city’s cultural and spiritual significance. Monastic communities and centers of learning played a crucial role in the development of the regions.

Viking Invasions | 8th – 9th centuries
The late eighth and ninth centuries saw Viking raids and invasions along the coasts of Scotland. The Norsemen often targeted monasteries, towns, and settlements for their wealth and resources. The Vikings established settlements in various parts of Scotland, including the Northern and Western Isles, and their influence extended to areas like the Hebrides and Orkney Islands.

See also
Molendinar Burn | The Legend of King Arthur
Ywaine | The Legend of King Arthur